Need Advice; Upgrading after SIX years; Have some parts already

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: May 18th, 2010 (Tuesday)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (games like Battlefield 2, ARMA II, GTA IV, Left 4 Dead 2, Just Cause 2, and Bad Company 2), internet, general multitasking

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS, monitor


PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD processor, ATI graphics card

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, need advice if it's a good idea or not




After six long years, I'm finally able to upgrade from my crappy PC, which its specs are:

AMD Athlon 3200+ 2.2GHz (Single Core) Processor
160GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
ATI Radeon 3650 1GB AGP 8x/4x Graphics Card


My friend just upgraded his processor, and he told me that if I got a compatible motherboard, then he'd give his old one to me. He's giving me an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.4GHz Dual-Core processor.

So I went on Newegg and I ordered this motherboard

and this 2GB memory stick

Now I know that I'm limiting myself a bit, since the mobo only accepts DDR2 memory, only has two memory slots, has a PCI-E 1.1 or whatever slot (not 2.0 or 2.1), and can support the AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad-Core processor at most. It's still leaps and bounds better than what I have now though.

So I've taken the initiative to scope out what I want to buy. I DO have a budget, but I'm not really sure what it is to be honest. I want cheap/reasonable, but still effective. Here's what I've been looking to buy immediately:

- Antec Three Hundred Computer Case (would buy from Best Buy with employee discount for $46)

- Antec Earthwatts EA650 650W Power Supply (would buy from Best Buy with employee discount for $70)

- XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 PCI-E 2.0 Graphics Card (I would exchange out the HD 3650 that I bought from Best Buy a few days ago for $120 and pay the difference of $80)


So please, tell me if these are decent choices. At some point, I will want to get the AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad-Core processor to replace the one he's giving me, but for now it might have to wait. Also, should I add another 2GB to make 4 GB in all for memory? I will be installing Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit since that's the only thing I have lying around.

Last question: Will only having 2 or 4 GB of DDR2 memory and an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ bottleneck the Radeon HD 5770?

Sorry for the lengthy message, but I need clarification. I appreciate any and all help.
20 answers Last reply
More about need advice upgrading years parts already
  1. mosox said:

    What's the point of getting that mobo? It's basically the same thing as what I ordered. I paid $47 for the RAM, so it'll come out to the same price if I just got another one of the same kind.
  2. You are going to pay 80 on top of the 120 you already paid? Thats too much bro. If you are cutting corners on the things you want to then it doesnt make any sense at all paying 200.00 for a video card you can get online for less:

    That's 32 bucks you can use along with what you can save on the power supply as mosox mentioned:

    This will save you another 34 totalling 66 bucks.

    Your motherboard should work fine with the exception you appear to have no overclocking potential. I would recommend getting a board with oc potential as this will crank out some necessary power you will likely need later down the road. You weren't able to oc too much on your old system and you may or may not know that the newer cpus can oc like no tomorrow compared to the older chips you are used to using.

    And, I know you arent looking to crossfire but I bought this board for my media center system, installed an Athlon II 620 x4 cpu and OC to 3.25 ghz by simply upping the fsb to 250 and no voltage adjustments and it runs VERY stable.

    If you are going to spend the kind of money on a new processor later down the road its a waste to put it into a board that has no oc settings to match the cpus maximum potential.

    Honestly, I think you would be happy beyond your wildest dreams to do as I did, go onto ebay and get a x4 620 for 70.00 + free shipping and also a x4 630 for 75.00 + 5.00 shipping and oc. You should easily land around 3.2 ~ 3.4ghz with little to no effort. You will need an aftermarket heatsink for your oc:

    There are many other good suggestions you can take but this one I am mentioning to you will make you very happy, especially coming from the system you listed above.

    Enjoy! = P
  3. ...and yes, your x2 4400 will bottleneck the 5770 but don't worry about that for now. I would still go ahead with your plans, see how you feel about the game play then if your not satisfied at least temporarily, then order one of the cpus I mentioned getting off ebay or even paying 95.00 on newegg is worth every penny. The 955/965 phenom II isnt worth the additional 60-80 bucks over the 620/630 in my opinion...

    I recommend you get some good thermal paste for your cpu:
  4. Hey, thanks for the response.

    I did look at the XFX Radeon 5770 on Newegg, but the thing that drove me to just paying extra at Best Buy is that I'm EXTREMELY impatient when it comes to waiting for stuff to come through the mail. I like to buy and take things home immediately. I guess I might be able to wait another 3 - 4 days in order to save money. :\

    The Antec Earthwatts EA650 650W power supply I want is the same price as the one you linked me to, unless you're referring to the mail-in rebate, in which I wouldn't bother. Those things are such an annoyance.

    I do not see any real differences between the mobo you recommended and the one I ordered, besides the 16GB max memory in yours and the apparent ability to overlock. Since overlocking is still a pretty new concept to me, I do not see myself trying to mess around with it any time soon whatsoever.

    How bad do you think my processor will bottleneck the 5770? The main game I want to play is Battlefield 2. I use to play it on my friend's PC and he ran it at maximum settings (1920 x 1080, 4AA, 8AF, Everything else on High) with his AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.2GHz Processor, 4 GB of DDR2 RAM, and an ATI Radeon 1950XT PCI-E graphics card. So basically I'd have the same processor, half the memory, but a much better card. As long as I can achieve the same results, I will be golden.

    I believe my friend just picked up that same type of thermal paste for his new processor, and he said he'd use it when installing the one he gave me too.
  5. Sounds like your half way there. The main difference with my motherboard is the overclocking ability. Its SOOOO simple on the board that I told you about as far as the overclocking is concerned. You simply raise the fbs value in the BIOS from 200 to 240~250, save and reboot. Thats it! Then your x4 620 2.6ghz is running @ 3.2ghz. You can't get any simpler than that. Theres other ways to oc but raising the fbs will do the same up to a certain point before you have to start tweaking voltages. You don't necessarily have to push the processor beyond that point unless you just simply want to.

    I hate rebates with the passion as well. I ws just trying to find a way for you to recover enough money to upgrade to an x4 620/630 cpu and eliminate any cpu bottlenecks. If your friend played the games you wanted to with that cpu with settings on max and you have a better video card you will be fine for a while. Once you get enough money later to buy the x4 620/630/635 cpu you will get another pleasant performance boost you arent used to!

    As I said before, unless you are just wanting to spend another 60-80 bucks on the phenom II 955/965 I cant see the money difference worth spending for apprx 5-10% performance boost. You can OC to achieve similar results and I just told you the simplicity of how to do it using the motherboard I recommended.

    You will be surprised how easy it is once you do it and you will love the end results! = D

    I would switch the motherboard, its worth the wait for a few days and you will be better off in the long run for it...
  6. Btw, you have a good friend to give you his parts. He sounds like a true buddy. You should buy him lunch one day for his favors, It would be perfectly fine to use his processor for a while until you can get the one I mentioned. I would highly recommend you switch the motherboard for future proofing as I mentioned above. For an extra 20 bucks now to get another 20% or more performance boost in OC right out of the box when you do finally get your new cpu will be more than worth it!...
  7. Well, the thing is, I already ordered the motherboard. This whole thing was an extremely spontaneous decision. It was basically one moment I'm sitting there whining about my six year old PC (and for all I know, I'd have it for even more years) to him telling me to buy a compatible motherboard to upgrade. I really can't afford this, but I'm just going with the money I currently have. When I saw the motherboard I ordered for $45.99, I said great, since obviously it is leaps and bounds better than the one I have.

    In all honesty, I'm a power whore, and would want nothing more than to have the best of the best. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to upgrade to what I *really* want at the moment. When I do finally get the opportunity to upgrade my motherboard, it'll be one that supports DDR3 memory and up to 8 or 16 GB, one or two PCI-E 2.0 or 2.1 slots, support for Six-Core processors, etc. Until then, I guess the one I ordered will hold me over...for now.

    Yeah, my friend is great for helping me out like this. He knows how bummed out I've been because of my crappy PC and that I love to play PC games.
  8. You will be happy with it as it is over your old system no doubt. You should still try to contact newegg while your shipment is in process and see what it would take to switch motherboards. Its about a 20.00 upgrade over the one you have and will eliminate the need to upgrade for another year or two being able to OC so well.

    But seriously, if you can't afford to do this and you still are, you need to place your order wisely where you can get the most for your money. Don't let impatience force you to settle for less. This is what I see happening here.

    I could've gotten you more for your money and you would be happier knowing you got the most for what you could afford and you can also push it beyond its limits and cheat even more performance for your dollar.

    Do you really want to settle for less or take care of that power whore problem you have? I know the answer, do you?

  9. Drop the case for now, reuse your old one and get the new cpu from ebay. Saving on the video card I suggested will make up the difference you need to get what you really need.

    This is only 76 bucks out the door:

    Your's is 100 plus tax. If you just take the time to place your order correctly, wait a few days and you will have a much better system!!!!

    Later when you get extra money you can put all that muscle into a case you really like. The one you selected is a great case, I have 2 of them.

    I'm just answering your thread honestly as you are the one asking for advice and I think most will agree what I'm telling you is the better choice. You will be thanking me later...
  10. I wouldn't worry about buying a new CPU yet - your new mobo arrives soon, order the graphics card, get the free CPU from your friend and see how your games play. The CPU is a free upgrade so make use of it, see how it runs your games, you will probably find it is fine for a little while so you can save your money.

    The upgrade will be a decent one from your current system, don't start thinking about upgrading even further before you have tried the free upgrade. The reality is, CPUs only go down in price over time, so if the CPU runs well enough for now you can buy a new one for less when it starts to struggle
  11. asteldian said:
    I wouldn't worry about buying a new CPU yet - your new mobo arrives soon, order the graphics card, get the free CPU from your friend and see how your games play. The CPU is a free upgrade so make use of it, see how it runs your games, you will probably find it is fine for a little while so you can save your money.

    The upgrade will be a decent one from your current system, don't start thinking about upgrading even further before you have tried the free upgrade. The reality is, CPUs only go down in price over time, so if the CPU runs well enough for now you can buy a new one for less when it starts to struggle

    I already suggested that in my first posts. I'm taking money hes already planning on spending and reallocating it. The OP made a list of what he was already planning to spend and I reconfigured it so that hes spending basically the same money and getting much more for his money.

    You can go the cheapest route by using the cheapest board and the free cpu but it doesnt make as much sense when you are overspending on your psu and video card to do that. Cut the bare expense on everything if you are going to go that route and wait to get your stuff online.

    If you dont mind spending the money you were planning to spend in the first place then go with my 2nd suggestion. You will get much more pc for the dollar that route...
  12. Englandr753,

    I think you missed the part where I priced the power supply where it said I was using the Best Buy employee discount and getting it for $70. It's the same price as the Corsair you want me to settle for. :P

    Initially, I WAS going to use my same case, but it's a manufacturer case (Compaq/HP) from six years ago. It has absolutely no fans on it whatsoever, not to mention I'm not sure a newer PCI-Express card would fit inside of it. Things have gotten hot in it before, but I'm not sure if it is because of the lack of ventilation, fans, or what. I just wanted a newer case to reduce the chances and safeguard myself from overheating, plus ensure that I'd be able to fit everything in it ok (mobo, graphics card, PSU, etc).

    I have a new problem now. I returned the AGP card to Best Buy today, and while looking around, I noticed the Radeon HD 5750 was $160. Is it better than the 5770? I still don't like the idea of waiting for my graphics card to arrive through the mail, so buying the 5750 from Best Buy for the same price as the 5770 on New Egg would solve that problem. I just don't know if it's as good, better, or worse than the 5770.


    Yeah, that's what I plan on doing. Like I said in a previous post, the main game I want to play is Battlefield 2, and I'm confident it'll play great because the processor I'm getting was the same one my friend used on his PC, with 4 GB of RAM, and an older graphics card and it ran everything at max and smoothly. I definitely shouldn't be spending $143 + tax on the processor I want, so I'll try to stick with the freebie as long as I can.
  13. The 5750 is worse than the 5770.

    ATI has a pretty simple naming scheme. The first number is the series number, the most recent generation starts with 5. After that, the higher the number, the better the card. In order to compare against past generations, as a rule of thumb, add 100 to the older card to compare to the newer series.

    So this gives you:

    5770 > 5750 -- The 5770 is a step up from the 5750
    5870 > 5770 -- The 5870 is a few steps up from the 5770
    4870 ~ 5770 -- The 5770 is about the same as the 4870. From THG Best Graphics Cards for the Money, May 2010: While AMD's new Radeon HD 5770 isn't any faster than the older Radeon HD 4870 (we've found that it's even slightly slower in many instances), it does have something the Radeon HD 4870 doesn't have: full DirectX 11 and Eyefinity support.
  14. Yes, I did miss the employee discount on the psu. I'm not pressing for an immediate purchase on the cpu, but I do strongly suggest that you get the other motherboard or comparable type being the power whore you admitted you were. =D

    The HD 5750 at the same price as the HD 5770 isnt a good deal and as stated above its less powerful.
  15. to the OP - Do u have a micro center near by?
  16. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a micro center?
  17. Microcenter is this:

    Brick and mortar store with the best cpu prices around. I live 20 minutes from one, lucky me! =D
  18. Ohhhh, it's a retail store. Nope. There is not a single Microcenter in my state.
  19. Alright, well today I went and bought the case and PSU from Best Buy. While I was there, I found the 5770 on sale for $170, so it worked out well. Now I'm STILL playing the waiting game on the Newegg mobo and memory, which should have been here yesterday or today, but apparently isn't coming until tomorrow. I HATE internet shopping.
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